Archive for May, 2006

5/31/06: Gallo Loses Another Extra Inning Nailbiter With A HBP

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

It was one of those crazy games. Do we have the most extra inning games in the ML now?
Mike Gallo loses another ballgame because of a HBP.

Phil Garner is gonna be second guessed today about IBB Albert in the 5th (I would have IBB him too) with 1st open and 2 out. It worked out yesterday, didn’t work out today, but I don’t have any problems with this. Scott Rolen will NEVER be Albert Pujols.

But as far as I’m concerned, the REAL second guessing will be – WHY did he leave Berkman with his bad knee out in the OF on the wet grass? He didn’t need to pull Springer OR Lane. I think that Lane is in Phil’s permanent poopoo house, and I would bet $$$ that every other GM in the business is waiting for Purpura to trade him for the lefty reliever Phil craves and they will pounce on Jason like a cat on a mouse. But I think Berkman is gonna have to rest that knee again, so hopefully, Jason will recover. He’s now sac bunting, that’s how low he’s sunk in Phil’s eyes…

But the facts are that Willy Taveras, his boy, isn’t playing well at all – OBP isn’t even .300 – very few infield or bunt hits, very few SB – he’s not exactly making things happen. But Willy won’t be benched for either Burke or Bruntlett.

And something is wrong with Mo Ensberg, too. April 30, he was .329 BA; .467 OBP: .765 SLG; 1.232 OPS
In April, he hit 8 doubles, 1 triple, 9 HR, had 21 BB and 19Ks
In May, he batted .222 with 2 doubles, 8 homers, 19 walks and 28K. In fact, he went 1 fer 5 and got lucky on the bloop single he DID get. I haven’t seen him have a good swing on anything in at least a week. He did make 3 really great plays in the field today, I’ll give him that.

- and speaking of plays in the field…
Guess I better start from the beginning. With Roger coming back, Taylor was nervous – he KNOWS he’s pitching for his spot in the rotation. AND if Brandon Backe comes back, for his spot in the bullpen. Phil shook up the lineup AGAIN – and of course, this means guys gotta learn how to field with someone different every time…
CF- Willy
LF – Palmeiro
RF – Berkman (bad knee and all)
3B – Ensberg
1B – Lamb
2B – Burke (and he looked great, too, by the way. He is just a great athlete.)
C – Ausmus
SS – Bruntlett (another GREAT athlete)
P – Buchholz

So Taylor had good reasons to be nervous. But then weird things happened. In the first, we score 1 but strand 2. Then in our half, The Pest GO 4-3, then John Rodriguez singled juuuust to the right of Burke, then it was Uncle at the bat. So Pujols hit into what SHOULD have been a Taylor-made (sorry, couldn’t resist) 4-6-3 GIDP, but the ball hit the umpire’s leg, he declared it a dead ball, called Pujols safe and awarded Rodriguez second. I don’t understand this at all. Why should everyone be safe (I can’t find the rule…) The inning shoulda been over with 16 pitches, but instead it’s guys on first and second with only 1 out and Rolen up. So Taylor tries to get Rolen to swing at a high inside pitch, but hits him. Bases loaded. And Taylor goes back to the windup, gets Encarnacion to FO and Ks Bigbie on a BEAUTIFUL hi outside corner FB. But it took him 30 pitches.

Welcome to St. Louis. Your First Time is usually painful – just ask Wandy…

Meanwhile, we score 2 runs, but strand 5. Suppan wasn’t very good today and we NEEDED to run away with it early. But we hit for **** with RISP. Same old story.

The weird field stuff started to go OUR way in the top of the third – Palmeiro singled, then Lance hit a double off the top of the RF bullpen – if it had been Burke or Taveras on first, it woulda brought home a run, but Palmeiro had a very short lead and only got to third. Ensberg pops out – like I said, bad swings lately – and after IBB Lamb after 2 outside pitches, Burke is up. I’m thinkin HERO, Cards thinkin GIDP ZERO. And sure enough, Chris hits the first pitch straight to Miles, the second baseman, who makes one of those fake swipe tags on Lamb, but OBVIOUSLY misses, then throws to first. He shoulda just done the 4-6-3, but he hadta get cute. TLR tried to argue Lamb was out of the basepath, but he obviously wasn’t and Miles obviously missed the tag, so it’s a FC RBI. Ausmus Ks looking on a pitch that sure looked inside to me.. The ump had a large strike zone…

The Pest scores a run in the bottom of the third after hitting a double jussssst inside the RF line. You know and I know and the NL knows that Albert is the best, but Eckstein is The Pest. You best believe that Uncle wouldn’t be on pace to break Hack Wilson’s RBI record if that ^&#%@! Pest wasn’t on base all the ^&$%@! time… I think the pitchers look at him and relax – he’s not a power hitter, but next thing you know, he’s on base and the next thing you know, he’s crossing the plate.

Taylor had major control problems in the 4th, but managed to get out of it, walking only Molina… and had thrown 74 pitches over 4 innings – looked like he just might could go 6 or 7…

BUT
it’s that %$^@#$! Pest again. In the 5th, Suppan FO, then Pest hits a 7th pitch single to right, goes to second on Rodriguez GO. Then Uncle is up. OK. We’re leading 2-1, man on second, 2 out. Now it is true that Taylor has gotten him to hit into weakass grounders his last 2 AB, but, and I mean BUT, Albert is not the best for nothing. And Taylor is NOT Roy. And I agree with Phil 100% walking Albert, and in fact, I think that any manager who didn’t was an idiot (nicest word I can find) and just because Rolen hit an RBI double didn’t mean it wasn’t the right thing to do because it was.

And it’s men on second and third and Juan Encarnacion is up. Bad luck time. Taylor Ks him swinging, but the pitch bounced in front of the plate and Brad doesn’t get it and so Albert scores the go ahead run on a WP. Taylor is, uh, a bit, um, unnerved, walks Bigbie on 4 straight pitches, but manages to get Molina to FO with bases loaded. And he’s done for the day – 107 pitches, 3 ER, 5 hits, 3 BB, 2 K. And it’s twice he shoulda been out of an inning and had to throw way too many pitches to finish up. Not one of his ace days, but not one of his horrow shows, neither. It woulda been nice if his hitters had driven home a few more runs, too – might could have given him a little more confidence with more breathing room…

But Ausmus and Bruntlett tie it up in the 6th on back to back doubles, but Biggio comes in to PH and unlike last nights pinch hitters, FO.

So then it’s the battle of the bullpens.
Adam Wainwright throws 2 awesome innings (I think that the Cards just might could consider letting one of their FA walk this winter and putting this guy in the rotation. I am REAL surprised the Braves let him go in a trade – this guy looks like a Jason Schmidt…) Izzy throws 2 scoreless innings – I notice the ump gives him strikes below the knees – he got Willy on one of those, and here I thought it was Jason Lane’s enemy. Lance Ks by swinging on a pitch waaaay outside – I was surprised – he usually doesn’t do that. Looper gets 1,2,3. But then again, he’s death to RHB and BP to LHB.

Trever Miller looked good – gets 1,2,3.
Borkowski goes 2 excellent innings, K-ing Uncle and Rolen.
Dan Wheeler looks shaky – not sure what is wrong with him, but he goes to 3-2 counts on the first 2 guys before getting outs, then gets the Pest to FO. As long as he doesn’t pitch to Uncle, who eats him alive.

Springer pitches the next inning, looks just fine, even with the Barry-type walk to Uncle, who hits him pretty well (hey, why be different…)

Then, Phil makes his mistake. He decides to pull Springer AND Lane and send out Wilson to LF and Berkman in right (on wet grass in an unfamiliar ballpark, mind you) and sends in Mike Gallo to face the bottom of the order.

I don’t know what’s gonna happen with Lance and his knee, which he aggravated trying to get to Molina’s hit, but he’s limping moren Barry Bonds and that is NOT good. Gallo wasn’t terrible, but his big BIG mistake was hitting The Pest on an 0-2 up and in pitch to load the bases when he was almost out of it. And there went the ballgame when Taguchi singled up the middle thru the drawn in IF.

Haven’t heard a word about what will happen to Lance, and we have a blessed day off and are headed back to home sweet home.

And Gallo?
Well, his ERA is unprintable, he’s lost 2 games in 1 weeks time. But you KNOW Phil has an obsession with the lefty vs lefty matchup and he for some reason does not think that a pitcher who gets out BOTH leftys and rightys is more valuable than the LOOGY, so if Purpura won’t trade Lane for some lefty crap, they might could send Gallo down and bring up someone from AAA.

Lets see who we have in AAA:
Phillip Barzilla (starter) 2-3 in 8 GS with 1 CG: 42 H, 25 R, 1 HR, 22 BB, 34 K, 1.49 WHIP, 3.98 ERA over 43 IP
8.79 H/ 9 IP (ok)
4.60 BB/ 9 IP (yeccccch)
7.12 K/ 9 IP (fine)
0.21 HR/ 9 IP (OUTSTANDING)
Steve Kent (reliever) – in 19 G, 9 GF, 2 HLD, 2 Sv; 17 H, 3 HR, 10 BB, 9 K over 18 IP – 1.50 WHIP, 3.50 ERA
8.50 H/ 9 IP
5.0 BB/ 9 IP (gaaaaaaaaak)
4.5 K/ 9 IP (too low with a high walk rate like that)
1.50 HR/ 9 IP
Mark McLemore – on the DL since 5/25 with a shoulder problem – had a 2.25 ERA over 12.0 IP in relief
- of course, I have NO idea what their lefty/righty splits are…

But Barzilla looks bettern Kent – low homers, higher Ks. and Barzilla isn’t a guy who can go deep into starts, anyhow – if you subtract that CG, he didn’t even average 5 IP/GS. Not that he looks even as good as Mike Burns did last year before he was called up. And the only lefty in AA seriously sucks. Trust me on this.

And speaking of splits, I hear tell that Roger is supposed to be starting June 22 against the Twins. If there isn’t any change in the rotation between now and then, that’s Andy Pettite’s scheduled start. So we’ll see how they’re gonna re-do the rotation …

and he’s tuning up with starts at
- single A Lexington (with Koby) June 6
- AA Corpus Christi June 11 (I just checked – sold out already)
- AAA – Round Rock June 16
you wanna bet there won’t be an empty seat in any of those stadiums? And I’d bet there won’t be any in ours, neither…

IT’S OFFICIAL – ROGER CLEMENS RETURNS TO THE ASTROS

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

Well, I just sat through the press conference.
He’s back.
Looks like Newsday DID scoop Ken Rosenthal. hehhehheh.
Looks like Steve Phillips was dead wrong. hehhehheh.

Roger gonna be paid a 22 mill pro-rated salary. He’s going to go to Lexington (where Koby is) to face live hitters, to get himself in game shape, but there’s no word on when he’s actually going to re-join the rotation. He’s going to take either Taylor Buchholz or Fernando Nieve’s spot, and at this time, I’d guess Fernando, who would be the long man, or he’d be sent down – he takes a LONG time to warm up.

I really never thought he’d go back Up There – he’s too happy here. He’s got all the Ringsss and Thingsss already and he wants to be THE Daddy, not just another guy. He LIKES working with the other pitchers, he doesn’t have to be “The Captain” – that is a title the bosses give a guy. Males always talk about “leader” – to me, that’s some guy who pushes other guys around by intimidation or by force. That’s not Roger at all. I think every guy on this club thinks Roger, even though he only plays every 5 days, is the ONE thing we need to Go All The Way.

Gonna be a lot more sellouts here at the Box. Roger has done more to make Astros baseball THE Houston sport than anyone has ever done, including Nolan Ryan. Roger is worth every penny he’s paid.

5/31/06- Taylor Buchholz vs Suppan At Busch

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

Taylor Buchholz, RHP vs Jeff Suppan, RHP

this year: 3 – 4 in 8 GS and 2 in relief with 1 SO: 10 HR, 13 BB, 29 K over 53.1 IP with a 5.57 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and a .257 BAA
five OUTSTANDING QS
3 HORRIBLE TURRIBLE starts.
Ah well, young pitchers….. (so what’s Andy Pettitte’s excuse???!!!)
has never faced the Cards (yo boy, remember Albert is good and don’t let your nads tell you to “challenge” him because trust me he is, uh, up to it…)
-
Jeff Suppan, RHP
career: 99 – 98 in 279 GS and 16 in relief with 15 CG and 5 SO 234 HR, 564 BB, 976 K over 1732.2 IP with a 4.67 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and a .278 BAA
this year: 5-4 in 10 GS: 8 HR, 21 BB, 32 K over 58 IP with a 5.12 ERA, 1.45 WHIP and a .272 BAA
vs Hou: 2 -6 in 9 GS and 1 in relief: 5 HR, 20 BB, 27 K over 60.2 IP with a 4.75 ERA, 1.53 WHIP and a .304 BAA
@ New Busch: 3-1 in 5 GS: 2 HR, 8 BB, 19 K over 30.2 IP with a 2.93 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and a .222 BAA

5/30/06: Astros Come Back For The Third Time To Beat Cards

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Oh I think I’m SOOOOOOO funny, don’t I….
O-pun and see.

Well, just in time for the Roger Rumor Mill,
OOOOOOOH we done it again. We came back for the third time – and if Newsday is right, Roger is coming back for the third time, too.

Andy Pettitte looked bettern he did last few times, 7 H (2 solo HRs to shallow left – man, New Busch LF make the Crawford Boxes look deep) 1 BB, 3 ER over 6 IP – 87 pitches, 51 strikes.

So there it was, top of the 7th. Reyes, who had been cruising, 3 hits – 2 doubles and an RBI single, a walk and 6 K through 6, Ks Preston Wilson to start the 7th. But you know, Reyes is facing ML hitters, and there’s a BIG difference between AAA and the ML – and as bad as our guys been hitting, they STILL ML hitters, and the third time through the lineup IS the toughest.

So Chris Burke, who had looked foolish striking out his first 2 ABs, fouled off the first 2 pitches, then doubled down the LF line. Then Brad Ausmus singles. TLR suddenly figgers that Reyes, after 98 pitches , better get pulled and he sends in Josh Hancock (who we know from Cincy). Not a bad idea – he had a 1.85 ERA over 24.1 IP, and we didn’t exactly hit him very well the past few years.

But you know, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn sometimes and Phil remembers it’s the NL and it’s OK to pinch hit, and he sends Lamb up to bat for Adam Everett, he singles to right and Burke scores. Then Palmeiro pinch hits for Andy and this time (for once) HE comes through – with an RBI single up the middle and Taguchi overthrows the game winning run. Thank yall honey, appreciate the help. These days, we need all the help we can get. 

 Hancock FINALLY gets an out – Willy on a grounder. Then it’s Biggio up. And on the 8th pitch, on a 3-2 count, Hancock makes a mistake tryin to get that K and Biggio takes him over the wall. And it’s 6-3. Yep. We scored FIVE runs in one inning. It happens, yes it does.

SEE ROGER, WE CAN SCORE RUNS!!!!

Now, as yall know, our bullpen has, uh, not been as sharp as last year (now wasn’t I just so NICE about it?)

So Russ Springer gets 1,2,3, outs with a K

Dan Wheeler gets a FO. Then it’s Uncle Albert, who gets a lil ol single to left. (whew). Then it’s Rolen, who hits a double that neither Willy nor Preston get to. (Here comes that sick feeling). So Encarnacion hits a ball to third – Mo makes a nice play to get Uncle trying to score. It’s much better to have 2 outs and guys on first and second than 1 out and guys on second and third. So Dan relaxes a little and Ks Taguchi.

Then it’s BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDDDDD

See Roger, our closer can close and it’s not gonna be like last year for you.
And it’s first pitch GO-3
Then it’s FB for a K, slider in the dirt, then a lazy FB to Burke.
And then Brad got it goin ON. FB for a called strike 1. Then a hacking swing at a vicious slider on the outside corner for strike 2. Then one last desperate swing at a slider in the dirt for big strike three.
(smile – yeah, none of them was youknowwho, but it’s coming. THE rematch…)

And we’re back one game over 500. Just waiting for you, Roger. At 700K/ start – you can’t beat that…

- notes:
Jason Lane still in the doghouse (er, the bench)
Chris Burke is now the everyday LF, just like last year, and Preston is over in right.
Bruntlett is still on the bench and Willy is still in center.
Mo is trying to out sombrero Preston – he’s had a TERRIBLE May – last year, he was the only player on the team to have a decent May
Brad Ausmus is STILL hitting over 300.
Lance now has 1001 hits.

- smile – guess Taylor and Nando gonna hafta step it up to see who’s gonna get put on the bench when, well, you know.
Roger is a drama queen all right, but he DOES get the Astros serious airtime…

5/30/06: Pujols Goes All Brad Lidge On Chad Qualls

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

OK
Lissen up pitchers and yall lissen REAL good now -
IF YOU THROW ALBERT PUJOLS, THE BEST HITTER IN BASEBALL, A FASTBALL DOWN THE MIDDLE, A HANGING BREAKER OR ANY PITCH OVER THE PLATE, HE WILL BE ALL OVER IT LIKE A STARVING DOG ON A HUNK OF MEAT AND THAT BASEBALL WILL LEAVE THE BALLPARK.

Exactly WHAT do yall not understand here??? Are you getting that he has hit 25 baseballs out of the ballpark in 51 games played? This is, by the way, good. For him, that is. Bad for the opposition. That means YOU.

It is time to stop worrying about size and strength of your male parts and how “manly” it is to see if Albert can hit your “challenge” cuz he surely can, yes he can.

Yall best start believing right quick that Albert is Barry Bonds all over again and yall best respect him or you will be sayin byby baseball a whole lot more this year. Unless, that is, like a certain baseball columnist who I refuse to say his name says, yall gonna throw him meatballs, win or lose the game, just so Barry Bonds won’t have the single season HR record. Which as far as I’m concerned, is throwing a game and is a LOT worse cheating than doing roids.

But anyhow, it’s gonna be best to walk Uncle. Yeah you gotta face Rolen, and he’s a very good ballplayer, but he just AIN’T no Albert. Just like the Truck Washer wasn’t no Barry.

So Chad just HADTA challenge Albert.

What happens???!!!

Roy Gets Clemensed for the second game in a row. The boy ain’t gonna win no 20 games THIS year, thank you “hitters” and thank you bullpen.

Roy pitched GREAT, 6 innings, NO runs, scattered 7 hits, 5 K, 1 BB, 91 pitches. Phil pulls him (why???), and the bullpen goes and Clemenses him: infield single, lil single to center, lil single to left, double to left because the hitter VERY fast, bunt single, single to right thru the hole, lil single to left. Not a well hit ball there.

Here’s how Uncle did against Roy:
1st – weak ass popout to Roy
4th – FO to Willy
5th – swinging K on 3 BEAUTIFUL pitches with men on first and second and 2 out. Gawd, it was a beautiful thing. Looked like he did in the 6th game NLCS.

So Phil sends Trever Miller/Chad Qualls out there WHY?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You could see all the Cards celebrating.
We only up 1-0 and the hitters are like – hit? Whassat? Who, me???? IDA WANNAAAAAAAAAAAA…

And against Jason F. Marquis, neither. We are NOT talkin no Pedro here. 4 walks, 4 hits, THREE HBP and we leave 8 and get 1 run. Preston Wilson, of all people, for the 3rd game in a row, has hit with MOB, driven in a run in each game. Chris Burke GO with bases loaded.

GRRRRRRRRR.
I am TRYING to find another word for suck and can’t think of one.
Looks to me like it’s gettin to be Tombstone Time. Sigh.

Today, it’s
Andy Pettitte, LHP vs , Anthony Reyes, RHP

Andy this year: 3-6 in 11 GS with 1 SO: 10 HR, 22 BB, 50 K over 65.2 IP – 5.76 ERA, 1.63 WHIP and a .320 BAA
- K rate looks good, but just LOOK at that BAA (you do it – it hurts me too much)
sigh
- I got NO idea wassup with Andy this year – he has only 6 QS. He has a CG SO. He has FOUR games where he’s given up 5 or more runs. Since he pitched the SO 10 days ago, he’s had 2 really lousy games – against Texas – 5 walks (yeah, FIVE), 12 hits, 5 ER in 6 IP – OK, the defense wasn’t excellent, but Andy wasn’t throwing real too good. Last start, he gave up SEVEN, yeah, 7 ER over 3 IP in Washington. Now I know stuff happens, but this was B-A-D bad, not like poor John Thomson of the Braves who gave up like a zillion singles in a row, the defense didn’t get em, didn’t turn DP, poor John tried to get cute, didn’t even last 2 innings before he gave up 7 runs. But something MUST be wrong with Andy – just TOO many bad outings…
vs St L: 2-1 in 5 GS: 3 HR, 5 BB, 20 K over 33.2 IP with a 2.14 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and a .207 BAA
- beat Carpenter earlier this year
-
Anthony Reyes, RHP
drafted 15th round by the Cards out of USC in 2003. Got called up earlier this year for just 1 start when Ponson was on the DL
- won that game against KC – 4 H, 1 BB, 1 K over 5.2 IP
was called up for a cup of coffee last September
1-1 in 1 GS and 3 in relief: 12 K, 4 BB, 2 HR, 6 H, 4 ER over 13.1 IP (2.70 ERA)
- smile
15th round – look at how their higher round picks did:
1 – Daric Barton – AA with the A’s
2 – Stuart Pomeranz – AA
3 – Dennis Dove – hi A
4 – Mark Michael – hi A
5 – Brandon Yarbrough – lo A
6 – Matt Weagle – Rookie
7 – Brendan Ryan – AA
8 – Matt Pagnozzi (? a favor to his daddy?) AA
9 – Justin Garza – hi A
10 – Tom Blair – AA
11 – Nate Kopszywa – Rookie
12 – Calvin Beamon – did not sign
13 – Kainoa Obrey – lo A
14 – Ian Kennedy – did not sign
and not a one of these guys high on any prospect list – not Daric Barton anymore, neither.
Just goes to show, picking future baseball players is tough. And a whole LOT of sure things, just ain’t.

And the terrible way we have been playing, I wouldn’t be real too surprised if this guy pitches a no hitter against us… GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

5/29/06 – Oswalt vs Marquis And The Cards

Monday, May 29th, 2006

Roy was SUPPOSED to face Chris Carpenter, but he went on the DL with a sore shoulder. So it’s Jason Marquis instead.

Well, we get to experience the new, smaller, easier to hit HRs in New Busch Stadium. Maybe I’m not understanding things here, but I do NOT understand why build a smaller stadium when you pretty much sell out the older, bigger one. Why not make MORE money on the extra 10,000 tickets a year you sell? Why is a “more intimate” stadium better? I guess so that Uncle Albert can hit more out…

Which reminds me – you think that some day that he gonna get the ol Barry Bonds IBB treatment with the game on the line? OR is Phil too mach to walk anyone besides the #8 guy to face the pitcher – which, by the way, he better not do with Marquis…
And I really really really wanna see Uncle face the new, improved Brad Lidge… yeh.

Roy Oswalt, RHP vs Jason Marquis, RHP

this year: 5-3 in 11 GS (8 QS): 6 HR, 15 BB, 48 K over 75 IP with a 3.36 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP and a .273 BAA
Had a GREAT game last time out – 2 hits, no BB and 7 K, but balked in a run and the bullpen lost it.
vs St. Louis: 6-4 in 15 GS: 10 HR, 19 BB, 85 K over 99.1 IP with a 3.62 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and a .270 BAA
- he beat Jason Marquis earlier this year
-
Jason Marquis, RHP
Roy last faced him 5/3 and won. He hasn’t had a real good year, even though he’s 6-4. He DOES have Uncle Albert, who got his self a habit of making HIS pitchers win…
career: 48 – 40 in 114 GS and 57 in relief with 1 save, 3 CG and 1 SO: 106 HR, 301 BB and 481 K over 781 IP with a 4.23 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and a .264 BAA
5.54 K/ 9 IP
3.46 BB/ 9 IP
1.22 HR/ 9 IP
this year: 6 – 4 in 10 GS: 11 HR, 24 BB, 25 K over 65 IP with a 5.12 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and a .252 BAA
6.2 IP/ GS
note K rate is down – 3.46/9, BB rate is the same, and HR rate is up a little to 1.53/ 9 IP
I hear tell that the new Busch is a hitters park – lessee
@ New Busch: 3-3 in 6 GS: 10 HR, 15 BB, 12 K over 37.2 IP with a 5.73 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and a .277 BAA
- well, kinda small sample size, but 10/11 homers and less than half of the Ks – hmmmmmmmm
vs Hou: 5-3 in 10 GS with 1 CG: 7 HR, 21 BB, 44 K over 67.1 IP with a 5.08 ERA, 1.60 WHIP and a .316 BAA

THUUUUUUUUUUUH Astros Win – Beat Ollie Perez To Prevent Pirates Sweep

Sunday, May 28th, 2006

Our third come from behind victory this year. And how we NEEDED this one – to stop our second 5 game losing streak of the year.

I had started out in the 8th inning with the title – Not Only Do The Stros Suck Beyond Belief, This Time We Get Swept With A Shutout. Guess the guys could see the computer all the way from Pittsburgh and decided to make me eat my words. Bless their lil hearts.

Oliver Perez, suddenly started looking like the ACE he was back in 04 in his last start. And he continued it this game. And this was a game he shoulda won – had a 3 hit (all singles) 3 walk, 9 K shutout at the end of 8 – and 120 pitches. But for some reason, Jim Tracy sent him out for the 9th – didn’t he trust Damaso Marte, or Roberto Hernandez – both of them Astro killers?

Ah well – hind sight is 20 -20, so they say…
It’s not that Nieve was lousy – he was actually pretty darn good.
Started off a leeeeetle shaky, but then – well let’s see:
1st – 20 pitches – PO, double, GO, walk, GO, leaving men on 1st and third
2nd – 14 pitches – K, GO, PO
3rd -17 pitches – K, BB, GIDP
4th – 11 pitches – FO, HR, GO, K
5th – 17 pitches – FO, K, K
6th – 10 pitches – FO, GO, GO
so here he is, 89 pitches, 3 hits, 2 walks, 5 K, 1 ER – looking great. (Hey, that was Jason Bay who hit what looked like a hanging something – the guy has hit 7 HRs in 6 games in a row – and the ML record is 8 games in a row – Mo was chasing it earlier this year, remember?)

So what happened in the 7th?
- well, could Fernando stressed himself striking out in the 6th???
- a GO, then 2 bloop singles. Which happens. BUT. Then Jose Bautista is up – a guy with a lifetime .554 OPS, with 2 HR over 164 AB over the past 3 years. Fernando throws 2 balls, then hangs something, and Bautista hits it about 360′ – I think it woulda been inside the park at home, near the LF bullpen wall, a double or maybe even an out IF Willy can get there, but here, it’s out, and Fernando gives up a 3 run HR to a guy who hits like Raul Chavez. SO, Fernando is a leeetle shaken, gives up a double to Ronny Paulino, then gets Perez out. In comes Gallo to face Mc Louth (and believe me, after last night, I was hardly breathing) but he GO.

Springer pitches a perfect 8th
Qualls pitches a perfect 9th
and
BRAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDD pitches a great save, except for a squiggly single to shallow center.

Now, back to the Oliver Perez story -
Phil shook up the lineup AGAIN – gave Adam And Biggio the day off – you bet they needed it, and Lance’s knee was still not feeling good enough for him to play, so Bruntlett and Burke started:
Taveras
Ausmus
Burke (LF)
Ensberg
Lamb
Wilson
Lane
Bruntlett (SS)
Nieve

I actually like this – Preston seems to me to do a lot better hitting 5th or 6th – no guaranteed K or GIDP with MOB
- 1st – GO, GO, single K – Mo leaves 1 on
- 2nd – K, GO, K
- 3rd – (grrrrrrr) Bruntlett and Nieve walk. No out. Willy T screws up a bunt and Bruntlett is out. Ausmus FO and Burk Ks, leaving 2 on. Same ol story.
- 4th – Ensberg, Lamb, Preston all K (grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr)
- 5th – FO, BB, sac-b, Willy GO leaving 1 on
- 6th – single, Burke PO, Ensberg K, Lamb LO leaving 1 on
- 7th – PO, GO, single, Nieve Ks swinging at 3 straight pitches out of the strike zone – leaving 1 on
- 8th – ROE, GIDP, FO
so here we are – WHY didn’t Tracy send in a reliever after 120 pitches? Especially since it looked as if the Stros couldn’t even hit a BP FB? Good question. It’s not like Perez is Livan Hernandez, and he isn’t used to throwing even 120 pitches and it’s not game 7 of the WS and he’s gotta have enough strength for 26 more starts…

But what goes around comes around. Remember Fernando gave up 2 elcheapo singles to start the 7th? Mo Ensberg finally actually HIT a pitch, a soft bloop single to very shallow left, with Bay playing deep, then Lamb did the same thing.

So out goes Perez, and in comes Mike Gonzalez, with his 1.89 ERA.
And he throws a FB right down the middle, and Preston singles (yes, you read that right. He doesn’t K or GIDP with MOB)
And it’s bases loaded.
And he walks Jason Lane on 4 straight pitches – not even close

Pirates 4, Astros 1. There goes the shutout.

Then Bruntlett hits the 0-1 to very shallow left for an RBI single
Pirates 4 Astros 2

Bases still loaded
Biggio pinch hits, 0-1 FO, no runs score

bases STILL loaded
Willy swings at the first pitch, out of the strike zone. Then 4 straight balls, ANOTHER RBI walk, and it’s

Pirates 4, Astros 3

Bases STILL loaded.
Gonzalez has thrown 14 pitches, gotten ONE out, given up 2 RBI walks and an RBI single and another single. See, Brad Lidge ain’t the only guy who has bad outings…
So in comes Salomen Torres
Ausmus hits a RBI sac-fly

TIE GAME
Lance Berkman comes in to pinch hit, but GO on the first pitch.
And it’s extra innings again.

But I guess the guys must be tired, because THIS time they manage to pull it off in the 10th, on a PRESTON WILSON RBI single. Yes, you read that right. He FINALLY comes through.
(And yes, Mike Lamb was a real dumbass to get caught stealing, making the second out with Bruntlett up.)

But HOW we needed this win – we’ve gone 2-5 on this trip with 2 of the 3 worst teams in the NL. Is there some rule saying we GOT to suck in May?

- Oh yeah. One last thing. Steve Phillips said on BBTN that he’s sure Roger won’t be resigning with the Stros, and will be going back to either the BoSox or Yankees because he wants to be on the winningest team. Of course, he hasn’t talked to Roger. Figures. Might could be he wants to me more than one of a bunch of All-Stars, maybe he wants to be THE star, the One Who Saves The Season And Is The ONE Who Takes Us All The Way…

- Too %&#%@#! media guys think the world begins and ends with NY and Boston…

5/28/06 – Fernando Nieve vs Oliver Perez At PNC Park

Sunday, May 28th, 2006

Well, the guys get exactly 12 hours between the end of last night’s doubleheader that was supposed to be a singleheader and the start of tonight’s game. We’re now at .500 – let’s say the team has been playing, um, like horse poopoo since the 16 – 9 best ever franchise start. We’ve been kicked for 5 games in a row by 2 of the 3 worst teams in the NL. Both Dan Wheeler (what the HECK is wrong with him) and Mike Gallo blew saves, both times with solo HRs.

- Anyone got ANY idea why Phil might could have decided to send Andy Pettitte in to pinch hit for Lidge in the 16th instead of Brad Ausmus, who actually CAN hit, with 2 on and 2 out and us badly needing insurance runs, seeing as how only Gallo and Borkowski were left in the pen???!!!

- I’m SURE Phil will gab on, and will sound a LOT smarter than Dusty Baker – “I Don’t Know What’s Going On” headline in the Chicago Sun Times. Will be interesting to see if Phil blames the players for sucking, like Jim Tracy is doing with the Pirates. He WILL have a point – we left 19 MOB last night…

- But I’m too tired from watching 6 hours straight – and no Chris Burke to provide walk off heroics and no Roger Clemens to get the W after THIS 18 hour, uh, loss….

Fernando Nieve, RHP vs Oliver Perez, LHP
(all stats from thebaseballcube.com, yahoo.com and espn.com)
this year: 1 – 3 in 7 GS and 3 in relief: 8 HR, 16 BB, 26 K over 40.1 IP – 5.36 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and a .270 BAA
too many HRs, of course, but it’s funny that he gave up 3 of them in the only game he won
only 1 QS and he lost that game. And he got screwed by bad fielding by The Usual Suspect who didn’t catch a very catchable FB…
he’s also had 3 decent starts where he didn’t give up a decision – got pulled from the first 2 starts before 5 IP, giving up 2 ER in 4.2 IP each, and one start where he gave up only 1 ER over 5.1 IP.
averaging 5.1 IP/ GS
has never faced the Pirates
-
Oliver Perez, LHP
a guy who I (and darn near everyone else) thought 2 years ago was gonna be an absolute STUD – but for some reason, he just has sucked – been hurt some, but has lost SOMEthing.
career: 29 – 35 in 98 GS and 1 in relief: 2 CG and 1 SO: 89 HR, 311 BB, 606 K over 560.1 IP with a 4.40 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and a .240 BAA
- and LOOK at this K rate!!! 9.73 K/ 9 IP – this is really incredible for a starter
8 H/ 9 IP (not bad)
5 BB/ 9 IP (now THIS is bad)
this year: 2 – 5 in 9 GS (3 QS): 9 HR, 35 BB, 35 K over 44.2 IP with a 6.04 ERA, 1.93 WHIP and a .295 BAA
- LOOK at all those BB!!!! WHOA!!!!!
had a great start his last time – 4 hits, 3 walks no ER over 6 IP against the D-bax.
and the start before, gave up 2 ER in 6 IP against the Reds
vs Hou: 2-1 in 3 GS: 4 HR, 6 BB, 30 K over 21.1 IP with a 2.95 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and a .182 BAA
@ PNC: 13 – 14 in 35 GS with 1 SO: 26 HR, 114 BB, 225 K over 206.1 IP – 3.93 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and a .224 BAA

5/27/06 – Wandy Rodriguez vs Paul Maholm

Saturday, May 27th, 2006

Wandy Rodriguez, LHP vs Paul Maholm, LHP

Wandy Rocks.
this year: 6 – 2 in 10 GS (7 QS) 7 HR, 26 BB, 41 K over 60.1 IP with a 3.88 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and a .262 BAA
has improved his K/9, and until the last few games, his BB/ 9.
vs Pitt: 2-0 in 2 GS – 1 HR, 3 BB, 10 K over 12 IP with a 2.25 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and a .273 BAA
@ PNC: won the only game he started – 7 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K over 6 IP
-
Paul Maholm, LHP
this year: 2 – 4 in 9 GS: 6 HR, 25 BB, 33 K over 52 IP with a 4.33 ERA, 1.65 WHIP and a .296 BAA
vs Houston: faced us earlier this year when the bats were HOT HOT HOT and he got killt – lasted 3 innings,
giving up 7 hits, 2 HR, 4 BB, no K and 5 ER.
@ PNC: 2 – 1 in 5 GS: 3 HR, 11 BB, 21 K over 31.2 IP with a 3.69 ERA, 1.52 WHIP and a .296 BAA

Pirates Hit Taylor Buchholz Over And Out Of The Park

Friday, May 26th, 2006

Well, whatever he fixed last start went down the toilet THIS start.
He started out sharp, 2 nice groundouts, a single and a swinging K from Jason Bay.

2nd wasn’t too bad – 3 Ks, a single, SB, and an RBI double (and HOW is it that Jeromy Burnitz is able to steal second – grrrrrrr)
3rd – double, K, GO single, K

He just got KILLT in the 4th – 7 ER. 9 batters – 1 walk, 1 single, 1 double, 1 sac bunt, 1 GO and THREE homers. And all that on 26 effing pitches. Now it IS true that if Jack Wilson hadn’t beat out the infield single, Taylor woulda been out of the inning on the next batter. BUT, 2 homers in a row to Bay and Craig Wilson the next inning STILL woulda beat him.

Was his shoulder in the right position? don’t know, couldn’t tell. But Hickey CERTAINLY should have been able to know what to look for and should have corrected him right quick. I don’t get this leaving them in there to rot. There shoulda been moren a few visits to the mound to calm him down.
And as for the hitters, well, with 11 hits, 4 walks and 1 SB, we SHOULD have been able to score more than 5 runs.
I guess I should just be happy we’re not being shut out.

And I think Lane is gonna be on the bench for a while – Preston Wilson started in right – went 3 fer 4 but not with RISP. Chris Burke got his first start in left this year and looked decent.

Oh yeah – Dave Borkowski got hit pretty good. Jack Wilson singled, went to second on a GO, then Phil had him IBB Jason Bay to try for the DP. Ok, that makes sense – Craig Wilson DOES GIDP a lot, even if it didn’t work that time. But walking Burnitz???!!! PuhLEEEZE – I mean, the guy Ks bout as much as Preston and isn’t even hitting his weight. So instead of having him then Castillo out, you got 2 on for Ronny Paulino, hitting 310. Besides, Castillo is pretty darn fast and isn’t one for hitting into GIDPs. Dumb strategy, Phil.

Sigh

Our SECOND 4 game losing streak. What, are we TRYING to suck more than we did LAST May? Because besides the Cubs and Royals, ain’t nobody stinkin it up moren us. (OK, the Angels…)